2021 Women
for Media Report:

‘Take the Next Steps’

We are delighted to share a significant new report: ‘Take the Next Steps’ – the fifth and most comprehensive report in our Women for Media series. 

Led by journalist and academic Dr Jenna Price with Dr Blair Williams, the report explores the role of female voices in Australian news, those quoted in news stories, and those who wrote the stories. 

The 2021 report combines quantitative and qualitative analysis of more than 60,000 articles across the month of May 2021, plus in-depth interviews with leading figures in the media landscape. Media icon and business leader, Ita Buttrose, was interviewed for the report and made a comment on the need to ‘take the next steps,’ from which this report takes its name. 


The report includes two sets of data: Big Picture and Top Billing. Big Picture was an examination of online news articles published in the month of May - a huge sample of more than 57,000 articles. Top Billing was a smaller sample of nearly 4000 articles appearing on page one of print publications or on the main section of the publication’s home page. 

“While the findings of this 2021 report demonstrate that we still have quite a way to go, I am buoyed by a shift in attitude and commitment from Australian media management. Almost everyone interviewed agreed that diversity and gender equality in our news coverage is important to address – especially when considering the purpose of our media and the role it has in fairly representing and supporting Australian people now, and into the future. Many are now trialling ways to tackle this, and learning from positive progress elsewhere.”  WLIA Founding Chair, Carol Schwartz AO
 

Click to read the 2021 Women for Media - Take the Next Steps report. 

Women For Media Report Series 
Click to read previous reports in the Women For Media series.

Women For Media Database 
Looking for a women expert to interview? The Women for Media database was established to provide journalists and event organisers with quick access to experienced and respected Australian leaders from a range of industries. Our database exists to promote gender equality and diversity of thought by amplifying the visibility of women in the media. 

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Key Findings

What women write about is gendered. Topics most likely to be reported on by women include health (53%) and entertainment (44%). What men write about is also gendered, and the topics that are “men’s topics” include politics (65%) and sports (87%).

 

Men are entitled to have an opinion about everything. Of all opinion pieces published in the month of May 2021, men wrote 65 per cent of them.  

For a quick snapshot of the 2021 report, download the Key Findings three-pager.

Report Author Biographies 

Dr Jenna Price 

 

Dr Jenna Price is an award-winning academic and journalist. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and columnist who regularly appears on television, radio, and in media generally. Jenna is highly regarded for her contributions to the field of journalism and particularly for her work in the education of journalists. She has received numerous awards in academia including for her outstanding contributions to teaching and learning. 

 

Jenna is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and has an award-winning PhD in political sociology. A journalist and columnist since 1982, Jenna’s work appears regularly in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times. She also appears regularly as a panellist on The Drum and has made multiple media appearances across television and radio during her journalism career. 

 

Jenna’s writing is of interest to a wide range of audiences from mainstream media through to peer-reviewed academic journals and she is particularly renowned for her work advancing the rights of women. She is the co-author of the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia 2019 Women for Media Report: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See.

Dr Blair Williams 

Dr Blair Williams is an award-winning academic and is currently a Research Fellow at the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at The Australian National University. Her research focuses on gendered media coverage of women in politics, and she is becoming a leading voice in this narrative, already cited by national and international political figures in public talks, media, and publications. Dr Williams is highly visible in the media as a monthly columnist for The Canberra Times, Federal Political Correspondent for Radio Adelaide, and regular writer for The Conversation. Her research and activism have appeared in over 50 local, national, and international platforms, including Radio National, SBS, The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC, Al Jazeera and  Le Monde.